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Muhammad Ali (b. 1942), born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. in Louisville, began boxing at age twelve. As an amateur boxer, he won six, Golden Gloves tournaments, in Kentucky and two National Golden Gloves tournaments. In 1960, Ali won an Olympic gold medal in boxing, then made his professional boxing debut. By 1964, Ali was the world heavyweight champion. He joined the Nation of Islam that same year. After refusing induction into the Army in 1967 for religious reasons, he was barred from boxing for three years. During that time, Ali toured colleges and universities addressing civil rights issues, in 1970, a U.S. Supreme Court decision ended his exile from boxing. In 1974 and again in 1978, he regained the world heavyweight champion title, making him the first boxer to have held the title "World Heavyweight Champion" three times. Ali was chosen to light the flame at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Several books have been written or co-written by Ali. His autobiography, The Greatest, was written in 1975. Other books published about Ali included: Muhammad Ali: The People's Champ, Muhammad Ali in Perspective, and Healing, A Journal of Tolerance and Understanding. A renaissance for Ali was triggered by his 1996 Olympic appearance. Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, Ali is currently supporting the first study of minority Parkinson's sufferers. Ali is the champion for all people. He is truly "The Greatest."
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